As you may have heard, the library embarked on several new adventures this summer including launching our first ever ETBU Library Pinterest account. In the past, the library has participated in social media by attempting to connect with our users through this blog, Twitter, and Facebook. As an
During this particular Lightning Talk (a series of very short presentations given in a single period by different speakers), a colleague, Robbie Bolton -- Library Director, Spring Arbor University, shared his library’s experiences with using Pinterest as a digital display for their ebook collections. Finally, a reason to “pin” for the library!
One thing we haven’t been able to do so far at our library is to find an effective, visual way of displaying our stupendous ebook collection. And, while we know the old adage is to “not judge a book by its cover,” we also know as librarians that the visual effect can account for a lot when it comes to peaking interest in book selection. There are studies and research being conducted as we speak on the user experience in libraries, marketing in libraries, and the like. We know that our users are becoming increasingly more visual in their engagement and that thought always echoes in the back of my mind when I think about ways to get information to our students at ETBU. After all, there is a reason that publishers pay artists and designers to come up with great cover art! Like it or not, I know that when an information seeker comes in to browse our shelves in the library the cover of the book might be the first thing that catches their eye when they are hunting through the stacks. Looking across the room from my desk as I type this I can see a wall of reference books and the books that my eyes are consistently drawn to are in a series with a religious statue, Queen Elizabeth I, a Native American, and an astronaut on the spine. Well done, encyclopedia publisher cover artist. Well done.
At the risk of over sentimentalizing, cover art has been referred to as the “threshold” or entrance way into the book (Sonzogni, 2011). In other words, by looking at the cover art you are presented with an invitation to step in or step out. What makes spreading the word about ebooks difficult is that a blue hyperlink in the catalog just doesn’t seem to compare with a glossy image on a printed book cover. Thankfully, Robbie’s example of how the White Library was using Pinterest to market ebooks to their readers was just the inspiration (and confirmation) we needed to take the Pinterest plunge.
Pinterest is by its very nature a visual discovery tool which makes it near perfect for displaying our digital ebook collections complete with their lovely cover art. We launched our ETBU Library Pinterest account in July 2014 and now have a total of 28 boards filled with new ebooks organized (in true librarian fashion) by academic discipline. Looking for a book on leadership? Check out the Pin Boards for Leadership and also Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership. Curious to see if we have any interesting biographies? You’ll really like our Biography board. Pinterest allows us to put the exciting smorgasbord (confession: I can’t say the word smorgasbord without singing the goose’s “A fair is a vertitable smorgasbord, orgasbord…” from the 1973 animated Charlotte’s Web) of over 2 million ebooks that we have on display for the world and ETBU to see. What’s my favorite part about ebooks on Pinterest? This summer I have made some truly interesting discoveries as I roamed through the digital collection. Among my favorite cover art/titles are: Walking Sideways : The Remarkable World of Crabs, Get Well Soon! : My (un)brilliant Career As a Nurse, and Leonardo's Foot : How 10 Toes, 52 Bones, and 66 Muscles Shaped the Human World – just to name a few. These are topics that I have never really even wondered about, but after seeing their lovely cover art and title I find myself intrigued and that much more excited to know that we have such things here at Jarrett Library.
Since we have begun sharing our Pinterest pages with ETBU faculty members I have had a few tell me that they “didn’t realize we had (fill in the blank) book” or “some of those covers made me want to read those books.” Ah, I love it when a plan comes together.
So take a walk through our digital stacks – whether it be on Pinterest or by searching through our catalog (or ebrary or EBSCO Ebooks or TigerProwl). Even though I’m hoping the cover art will pull you in, we both know you only get to the good stuff when you start to turn the pages.
Have an idea of something we could start pinning? Leave us a comment below! Happy pinning!
- Elizabeth Ponder, Librarian & Manager of Instruction & Information Services